But while the headline process may be easier, couples going through the legal stage of break-up are still experiencing many challenges. Heralded as a new dawn for parting couples, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 aimed to streamline the divorce process when it became law in April 2022. The legislation has made divorce less
What Happens When a Parent Breaches a Court Order?
This article aims to shed light on the consequences and legal recourse available when a parent breaches a court order in the context of family law.
Understanding Court Orders in Family Law
First and foremost, it’s essential to understand what court orders entail in family law cases. Court orders typically outline the responsibilities and obligations of each parent concerning matters such as when and how children spend time with them, with whom children live, and other related issues. These orders are put in place to ensure the best interests of the child and promote stability and consistency in their lives.
Types of Court Order Breaches
A parent can breach a court order in various ways. Some common examples include:
- Preventing a child spending time with the other parent – .
- Relocating without permission – A parent moves away with the child without obtaining consent from the court or the other parent.
- Not complying with the terms of an arrangement order – One parent ignores the arrangement order established by the court.
Consequences of Breaching a Court Order
When a parent breaches a court order, several consequences may follow, including:
- Contempt of court
- The court may find the non-compliant parent in contempt, which can result in fines, community service, or even imprisonment.
- Modification of orders
- The court may decide to modify the existing court order to better protect the child’s best interests, orhe court may order the non-compliant parent to ensure that the child spends additional time with the other parent to make up for the missed or denied time.
- Legal costs and solicitor’s fees
- The non-compliant parent may be required to reimburse the other party for legal costs and solicitor’s fees incurred due to the breach.
- Parental alienation considerations
- If one parent consistently undermines the relationship between the child and the other parent, the court may take parental alienation into account when making future decisions.
Seeking Legal Remedies
If a parent finds themselves dealing with a court order breach, it’s crucial to take appropriate legal action. The following steps are always recommended in order to assist you in getting the best results.
- Keep detailed records of the breaches, including dates, times, and any supporting evidence such as emails, text messages, or witnesses.
- Attempt mediation or other dispute resolution methods to resolve the issue without escalating the conflict further.
- Consultation with an experienced solicitor
- Seek legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor who can guide you through the legal process and represent your interests.
- Application for enforcement
If informal resolution attempts fail, you can file an application with the court to enforce the existing court order and seek appropriate remedies.
A court order breach can have significant implications for both parents and, most importantly, the well-being of the child involved. Understanding the consequences and available legal remedies is crucial for parents who find themselves facing such situations. If you believe a parent has breached a court order, consult with an experienced family law specialist to protect your child’s rights and the best interests of your child.